JKT set Rwanda Patriots squarely on sniperscope

DESPITE defensive errors that led JKT to lose to Uganda’s City Oilers in their second Basketball Africa League (BAL) qualifiers at the National Indoor Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Friday, the team’s manager Jose Ngowi told his players to stay focused.

Tanzania champions, JKT were comfortable leading 42-36 in half time against City Oilers of Uganda. Led by captain Baraka Athumani, JKT started well and sealed a comfortable 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter to give home fans a good time.

But, the Ugandan side Oilers seemed re-organized after the dismal start. They opened up a 23-point gap at the end of the third quarter at a cost of dependable captain, James Okello.

But Stephen Omony came in and did all the dirty work, adding nine points and seven rebounds before they Ugandans went on to win 85-56.

Many home fans were expected to celebrate the second victory, but their dreams were shattered at the end.

Ngowi said that their game plan worked it well in the opening stage, but terribly they could not keep that up to the end.

Ngowi added that competition is very tough as all teams are nationals champions in their respectively countries.

JKT were on action yesterday evening challenging Rwandan Patriots before closing in on Dynamo of Burundi, while Ngowi said both remaining matches are very important.

“We have to stay focused on the coming matches, the tomorrow clash against Patriots battle is vital us since it will decide if we advance or not,” he explained.

JKT started the event on sound note after recording their first victory with a hefty 87-47 win over their Ethiopians opponents on Wednesday.

With three straight wins in the bag, City Oilers have qualified to the next round of the BAL Qualifying tournament scheduled for next month and December.

City Oilers coach Many Juruni was quoted as saying after his side survived an early scare:

“As a club with the ambitions that we have, this was our biggest game because winning means we have qualified to the next round, I am happy that we managed to calm down nerves and did the things that we were supposed to have done from the beginning.”

In another Friday battle Patriots from Rwanda defeated Ethiopian’s Hawassa 125-50 to register the highest scoring game of the competition so far.

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